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INTERVIEWS

March 13, 2007

R. NADAL/J.C. Ferrero

6-1, 6-1

An interview with:

RAFAEL NADAL


THE MODERATOR: Let's start questions please.

Q. Against Clement, you said you hit your forehand the best for a long, long time. How about today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the same I was saying. I am playing so much better with the forehand, especially I start the week before Dubai when I practice in Mallorca, I was starting to touch a little better with the forehand. In Dubai I play very good with my forehand, and right now, I'm continuing like this, no? So very good.

Q. You seem like, yeah, you're starting to hit your stride. Do you feel like you're getting more and more confident each round? It seemed like you had quite a strong match this time against him compared to yesterday.
RAFAEL NADAL: For sure, it's important for me, the victory after last year losing in Cincinnati against him, 7-6, 7-6. So for me, it's fine. I'm in quarterfinals, that's good tournament for me. Right now, I gonna try my best to continue like this and try to go to semifinals, no, and have had same result like last year. So that's it.
I'm happy with my game right now. I know Juan Carlos today have some more mistakes than usual. But what's after the five -- after five games in the match, I start very well. He has opportunity in 1-0, 15-40, but, well, I serve very good to serve there. And after that, I play very well, no, without mistakes, no mistakes. Especially so much better with the backhand today and in the serve with very security all the time, no?

Q. Do you get more pumped up when it is another Spanish player?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?

Q. Do you get more pumped up, more excited?
RAFAEL NADAL: Me, no. The same. Finals is the same if you win against one Spaniard than another one. No, it's not special if you win Spaniard. Finally important thing is if you win the title or if you have more points. The points is the same if you win a Spaniard or not. Sometimes it's better if you lose against one Spaniard, no, because he he's a friend of yours.

Q. Juan Ignacio Chela is next. You've not played him since 2004. What are you expecting in that match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I lost against him in Cincinnati in 2004?

Q. Yes.
RAFAEL NADAL: I lost him and I won in Stuttgart. I won -- I lost in Cincinnati seven sets in the third, I think, and I won in Stuttgart 6-6, 6-3. So it was a good match anyway. I play good matches every place. But the things change a lot from that moment, no? So, well, we will see, but he's coming with very good confidence winning in Acapulco, and now he has good wins here. So I don't know.
I gonna try my best and for sure I need play my best tennis for win, because when you are in quarterfinal, every match is tough, no?

Q. I think you played some golf this week?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, when I have time, I go to golf to relax.

Q. How did you play?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, first day, disaster, second day probably very bad, and the third day, I played better. I know a little bit more the course and I play little bit better. I play my handicap. But tomorrow I gonna improve.

Q. You play golf right-handed; is that right?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Q. How do you do that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, with the left, I can't play. I try one day or two days, and I don't have coordination. Coordination is good. Well, so, I don't have coordination. I use the right-handed for everything, no, everything. Just for play tennis and football I use the left.

Q. You're a very active person on the tennis court and even just in general, around the locker room and stuff. Golf is a pretty quiet game. Doesn't that create a little problem for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: That's good for me because I love -- I prefer to play football, some match. I prefer play football, play matches on football with the friends. When I was young, I played one team. But right now, it's difficult play football, no? It's a little bit dangerous for the injuries and what. When I am playing golf, that's good for me because I can relax. I am in a very nice place always because the golf course always is very, very nice, very beautiful. And that's it, no?
When I go, I'm in the golf, I can play four hours consecutive with calm. So that's good. That's good for think and for disconnect a little bit of the tournament, no?

Q. A lot was made about Roger's relationship with Tiger Woods. Do you think you have to improve your handicap to get to meet Tiger or have you met him already?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I met him in Shanghai this year, no? He was very nice. I was in the tournament in Shanghai when he was playing, and in the last day, the final day. And he say me hello when he's on the match. During the match, he come to me and say hello. So that was very, very nice for me because I admire him a lot.

Q. So this week, we come in and Andy Murray, he's cut his hair, and before, Hewitt cut his hair, and Safin cut his hair, and Agassi. So is there any chance that you'll not cut your hair? Will you keep it maybe for a couple years or is it going to go?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, if they cut hair, I gonna cut too. No, I have always the same, this style, and I don't know. You never know, but right now, I -- not yet.

Q. Ljubicic is through, and if Andy wins this evening, who would you rather face? Would you rather face Ljubicic or Roddick?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me, Chela right now. That's it.

Q. I'd like to ask you about soccer, because you played football and your uncle, as we all know, played on a national team. Have you ever met David Beckham? He's coming to the United States. He's going to get $250 million. What do you think about that?
RAFAEL NADAL: About what?

Q. Beckham is coming to United States, coming for $250 million.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, for me, doesn't matter if he win $200 million or $300 million, but if he has good motivation to go to United States -- I know he's a big market and, well, he's a big star, very big sportsman. So for him, if he go to United States or he gonna have motivation for to come here, no, that's it. I can't say so much things because everyone have (in Spanish).
THE MODERATOR: "Do whatever they want. They do whatever they want."

Q. Are you a fan of David Beckham's team Real?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, it's one of the more professional football players in my opinion, no? So I'm happy because I have David Beckham on my team for a couple of years, so it was nice, was nice.

Q. If golf will be played on the clay, would you expect better results?
RAFAEL NADAL: What?

Q. If the golf would be played on the clay, would you expect better results from yourself?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I mean, the backhand is difficult for me. The sun, too.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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